The stage presence

by on February 27, 2015 in all dance, thoughts and poetry

Stage presence is one of those “things” so difficult to describe how easy to recognize it. Stage presence refers to the certain “quality”, a charm, that a theater actor or performer possesses to attract and influence attention and imagination of an audience.

Of the various definitions given to the stage presence I found:
– Ability to impress;
– Ability to communicate efficiently;
– Quality of self-assurance and effectiveness that permits a performer to achieve a rapport with the audience

Common in all these definitions of stage presence is the relationship between the performer and the people present. Without a witness to experience it, do not exist stage presence.

Obviously, the development of stage presence is responsibility of the professional training of an actor. However, in every performance event, there is always a certain influence in the opposite direction: a sort of “back-stage presence” from the public towards the actor or dancer. The stage presence has fundamentally a relational nature: as the planet Earth exerts a force of attraction to the Moon, at the same time, to a lesser extent, also the Moon attracts the Earth to itself.

But then? what matter is made the stage presence? how a performer can learn? how can he improve it?

Leaving aside for now this “back-stage presence” from the audience, you can say doubtless that the stage presence is the result of hours and years of training of the performer, be it an actor, a singer or a dancer. However, the hard work on the body, on the voice or on the character, does not automatically generate a better presence on stage. It’s need something else. Let me explain with this analogy.

The stage presence is just like a fruit. I can not generate a fruit from nothing, I need first to grow a tree. First step: find the seed suitable that can generate the desired tree. If I want to have apples, I not sow oranges, this is clear. But who can recognize the difference between the various seeds? this is the first difficulty: how can I know if a certain work, exercise, teacher or school can give me the desired stage presence? Every presence is an edible fruit, but there are so many with different flavors and fragrances. In this situation only deep intuition and clear vision can help. If you later change tastes and do not want apples anymore, hardly find the time to grow another tree. Certainly, however, once you have an apple, you can do what you want with it: eat it raw, cook it, add spices and other flavors. The stage presence is a fruit, but I have an entire vegetable garden available.

Once you have chosen the seed and planted in the ground suitable (and in these days it’s so hard to find one), you start to water it. Water and patience, but not only. Do 300 push-ups a day or making 200 pliet not generate itself a greater stage presence. We need a monitoring, continuous updates that the tree will grow healthy. This update is a second part of the work. The work of the work. Without this second level I could not realize that the tree does not produce flowers or that is full of parasites. About this meta-job observation and continuous updating I will have to speak in a another post.

Back to our analogy. Years have passed. Finally the tree has bear fruits: apples. Now, what I do if my tastes has changed? if I don’t like apples anymore? okay. I look around for others ingredients to make an excellent dessert: apple pie and cinnamon. I will surely have grown more in my garden, I hope. The tree grows by itself into the arms of Mother Nature. He just needs water and constant attention. Even if I have it in mind all the time, it will not grow faster.
So: flour, eggs, butter, sugar, cinnamon … something I have in the garden, something I find spontaneously in Nature. Within hours, a lot of creativity, a good oven and the cake is ready.

Years to make apples, a few hours to turn them into something else. Difficult to describe the stage presence, but when you taste a good apple pie and cinnamon, you recognize it immediately.

John Batho “Présents et absents”

2 Responses to The stage presence

  1. Eliconilatina says:

    Mi è piaciuta molto il tuo post!!, e la idea di mettere più ingredienti alla base per renderlo gustoso. Ma come faccio a sapere quali ingredenti vanno bene per la mia ricetta? Può darsi che il publico preferisce una insalata di mela..

    • paolo cingolani says:

      Grazie Eliconilatina. Posso rintracciare alla base della domanda 2 diverse questioni:
      1. per sapere se i miei ingredienti vanno bene per la ricetta che ho in mente, cerco sempre di fare un monitoraggio continuo con gli altri, cerco feedback da altre persone, uso medium differenti per vedermi da altri punti di vista (il video ad esempio), osservo gli effetti della presenza al momento, in scena, e mi domando quando funziona e quando meno.
      2. la questione del pubblico che preferisce un’insalata invece di una torta solleva il dubbio che magari ci sia stata confusione sul nome del teatro, o si aveva aspettative a priori. In questo senso, se la mia intenzione e interesse era la di torta di mele, continuo a seguire la ricetta. Non a tutti piace la torta di mele, ma a chi piace sa dove si può trovarla.

Leave a Reply

Paolo Cingolani 2017 © all rights reserved